Originally published on May 14, 2021 on redefinED, a website that provides a local perspective on how parental choice is transforming public education. It was written by Christina Foster of Phoenix, a long-time education choice advocate, who pleads in this commentary for the passage of Arizona House Bill 2427. Foster’s daughter transferred this year to a micro-school located at the Black Mothers Forum, which partners with Prenda’s Micro-school program to create safe and supportive learning environments.
Arizona is a national leader when it comes to diverse school options. Having a statewide culture that embraces creativity and innovation in K-12 public education is critical for creating learning environments that allow every child to feel safe and thrive.
For more than 40 years, the state has had an open enrollment option. As with any program or law, modernization is the key to ensuring the needs of a community are met. While the state has a robust public charter school system and expansive open enrollment for public district schools, modifications are needed so that every family has access to the public school of its choice.
For decades, attendance zones have intentionally blocked students of color and low-income students from the best public schools. Enrollment processes like “first come, first served” disenfranchise the working poor who cannot afford to miss days of work to wait in line.